This Time Last Year – Part 22: Across the Ocean once again

Part of a series of posts that cover my travel to Greece and the USA in April/May 2016.

May 9 2016 – Athens to LA 

I’m up early, eat breakfast in my room and am ready for a 7:15am departure from the B&B. I’m leaving behind blue skies, my heart, and the remainder of the Dogmatikos wine.

Bougainvillea forms an arch over the gate to St Thomas B & B.

I’m feeling so very sad to be leaving Greece. I have so enjoyed my trip even though for much of it I have been travelling alone. Meeting Tom and Rowena in Athens, the historians in Kalamata, and the welcome and hospitality of Theodora in Corinth, Marian and Sissy in Athens and Alexandra in Thessaloniki made this trip so very extra special. I loved staying at St Thomas B&B and the geology tour with Vasilis was right up my alley. Late April / early May is a perfect time in Greece, weather-wise, for me. In 2013 we had gone in July and I wilted in the 40 degree plus heat. I pledge to myself that next time I visit it will be in Autumn when the grapes are ready for harvest and the figs are ripe for eating.

At the Aegean Air counter the  check-in chick says, ‘Yes, I can check your bags through to LA.’ You beauty. All of the Aegean Airline staff are beautiful - the women, especially, like Grecian Goddesses.

The plane is a brand new A320 but the seats are tight as ever. I’m in the middle seat – again – and I can’t open the free inflight magazine without reclining. Yay, I get a GF meal. An omelette with one cherry tomato and two slices of grilled courgette. It is lukewarm but tasty.

Approaching Heathrow the plane circles round and round. Yellow paddocks glow in the low cloud haze. It seemed like a very long flight because it left late and I sat in the cramped seat too long despite two toilet forays. Pins and needles in my left arm and a dull ache in my left knee. I take some Panadol.

We arrive at the gate at Heathrow at 11.30 am.  Greece is two hours ahead so it would be 1.30 pm there.  LA is 10 hours behind Greece, so it’s 3.30am there.

NZ1 pushes off at 4:24pm instead of 4.15pm and finally revs its engines for take-off at 4.58. Heathrow is a busy airport. There are aeroplanes everywhere.

I’m glad to be back in Air New Zealand’s premium economy space seat. The section is not full and I have an empty seat beside me. My GF meal is on board and I am impressed. The prawn cocktail with a hint of cilantro and citrus in the mango salsa is delicious with the Vidal Chardonnay. And I have bread! BFree is the brand, Irish-made, but I wonder what is in it because the packaging says it has no sugar/dairy/egg/wheat/gluten/soy/nuts. Right now I don’t care.

NZ1 Gluten Free option on Heathrow to LA sector. The BFree bread is the best yet.

It’s a smooth flight to LA where I am staying overnight at a close-to-the-airport hotel before heading north via Seattle to Bellingham.

It’s noisy in LA. I stick in my earplugs and go to sleep.

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